The airman and the nurse Nurse * Sensing * Fooled * Liquidations B17 42-32070 Updated: 18 OCT 2015
Lolland-Falsters Folketidende Wednesday 6 February 2002 page 10, West
See photos in the edition in Danish Flyveren og sygeplejersken with these captions:
Local historian Ib Walbum showed the bullet proof vest to Michael and Ute Danforth. His grandfather was wearing it on Easter Sunday 1944 when his flying fortress had to make a forced landing near Ryde. Village constable Larsen of Søllested got hold of the ceramic vest which is now kept at the archive in Kappel. (Photo: Kim Løwenstein)
American Michael Danforth took a photo of Ruth Bergstrøm at the door to the room where as a young student nurse she took care of his grandfather who had been wounded during a bombing raid on Poland. (Photo: Kim Løwenstein)
The airman and the nurse
By Mogens Warrer
NAKSKOV Easter Sunday 1944 was a busy day at Nakskov Hospital. About 10 American Flying Fortresses (B-17 bombers) were shot down around Lolland-Falster and a number of wounded airmen were taken to the hospital.
One of them was Sergeant Earl F. Green whose leg was injured.
Yesterday his grandchild Michael Danforth with his wife Ute visited Nakskov Hospital and said hello to nurse Ruth Bergstrøm who treated the young American in 1944.
Earl F. Green will be 80 years old next year, and he is not fit to go to Denmark himself, but his grandson has taken videofilms of the meeting with Nakskov, so that Earl Green can experience all of it once more.
He is indebted to Ib and Britt Walbum of the Archive of Local History in Rudbjerg for that. A letter from Ib Walbum in the magazine of Veterans of 452nd Bomb Group established the contact.
Today Ruth Bergstrøm is 81 years old, but she still has her photos of the young Americans and the album with their autographs and greetings.
First of all Ute and Michael Danforth would like to know if Ruth was the ”sweetheart” that Granddad had dropped a hint about a number of times. However, Ruth Bergstrøm had to disappoint them, but she could tell them that the young American’s Danish nurse-sweetheart died many years ago.
The plane of which Earl Green was the navigator was so damaged after a bombing raid on Poland that the pilot had to make a forced landing near the old school of Ryde. All 10 airmen on board survived, but Earl Green was wounded. His pals dragged him to the road, put his bullet proof vest under the back of his head and disappeared into the wood after having destroyed parts of the plane. Four of them made it to Sweden.
Earl was taken to Nakskov Hospital where chief surgeon McDougal ordered that the plaster was to be ”kept wet” to avoid that the Germans fetched the wounded airman. It worked for quite some time. In August the Germans took the American airman to a Prisoner of War camp from which he was liberated by the Russians in 1945.
Lives in Cairo
Granddad never really told us much about the war, but he showed us some medals. Only in recent years he has related something, and now he has started joining reunions of veterans. Five years ago he once again saw the airman who dragged him out of the plane, states Michael Danforth who lives with his wife in Cairo where they work as missionaries.
The former farmer Earl Green still has his trousers with holes at his thigh. He was hit by shrapnels, and some of them are still in his thigh and have given him pain since then, his grandson explains.
But he has never said a harsh word about Germans. On the other hand I have often been angry with them. Now I am married to a German. The world is strange, Michael Danforth states.
The American visitors were shown the place where the plane force landed, and Ib Walbum showed Green’s bullet proof vest, which today is kept by the archive of local history. And then Ruth Bergstrøm could show Michael Danforth the room where his grandfather was a patient for four months in 1944.
Then it was Room 7, Department M1, which today is Department 150, Room 156. It is still a small room for two beds.
Boots of German guards
I remember that the floor outside was worn by the boots of the German guards, Ruth Bergstrøm states.
Residents of Nakskov spoiled the American airmen.
But to prevent the Germans from getting all the goodies that were sent to the Americans, we had to hoist a basket from the second floor and down to the window of Room 7, she recalls.